Last night, after a particularly hard day, P. and I were sitting in the living room when I had to get up to go to the bathroom. I planned to try to put the sleeping D. in his crib on my way (he'll usually sleep there for a few hours, but always ends up in our bed eventually), but P. stopped me and wanted to take D. with him instead.
When I came back, a noticeably calmer and blissed-out P. said to me, "isn't it amazing how just holding D. like this can make you forget about all the stress?"
It is amazing. As exhausting as this full time motherhood can sometimes be, the most peaceful moments of my day are spent with D. There's nothing like holding a sleeping baby. By being with us (and not lying elsewhere on his own), D. also seems to be more at peace. Usually when I put him down, he squirms quite a lot, twisting his body from side-to-side, flailing his limbs. When we pick him up to sit with him, or bring him into bed with us, he almost immediately calms down, and snuggles in closer. When he wakes, up, he is a sunflower reaching for the light: he turns his little face from side to side, gradually tilting his head further and further back, his eyes still shut tight. When he opens them, he'll look at us seriously for a moment, and then he smiles a smile that lights up the entire room.
In her novel, The Character of Rain, Amelie Northomb describes the Japanese belief that until he or she reaches the age of three, a child is a little god, an "okosama." It's not hard to see where this idea comes from. Moments like these (watching D. asleep on my lap) can feel intensely spiritual. There's surely a piece of the divine right here.